You heard it folks. Massachusetts again making history in the fight for full LGBT equality. On Saturday, Massachusetts Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Charlie Baker and running mate Richard Tisei will march in Boston Pride. Marking the first time ever that a Republican candidate for Governor will join LGBT people in Boston Pride.
Baker who chose openly gay, Senate Minority Leader, Richard Tisei as his choice for Lt. Governor will be marching not only alongside supporters but Baker's gay brother will join the Republican candidate. Tisei's partner of 16 years, Bernie Starr will also be marching.
Charlie Baker supports Marriage Equality, has committed to not supporting any sort of reattempt to derail The Goodridge Decision by ballot initiative (in 2012) and chose a running mate who is a co-sponsor of the Transgender Right Bill currently in the State house.
Of concern to the LGBT community was Baker's recent lack of support for this Transgender Rights Bill and that he referred to it as "The Bathroom Bill" which angered LGBT activists around the Commonwealth. KnowThyNeighbor has been publicly critical of Baker regarding this. We need to remember that the path to Marriage Equality was not an easy one. It required much education, visibility and meaningful dialogue by and about lesbians and gays, our families and our lives. We still are not protected Federally.
Likewise, education about transgender people must also take place. It needs to start first with ourselves. How many people out there, gay or straight have met and held a conversation with a transgender person? It was in 2005 that a very public crisis occurred on the KnowThyNeighbor blogs with one of our commenters who self identified as transgender. I can speak about this because this person did so also in a public manner. She quite possibly was suggesting that she may do herself harm. Not only did I research to find out this frequent commenter's identity, but I contacted her and had quite an enlightening conversation about her life and what she was going through. I also booked a session with a clinical psychiatrist for myself in which I asked this psychiatrist questions about transgendered people. I did this to educate myself and try to understand the humanity behind sexual identity issues. This small step that I took answered so many questions for me and made me quickly realize how important it is that we accept and reachout to our fellow transgenders.
I had to go through an educational process. Mine was out of what I perceived as necessity. Others will have to be educated by us--just as we did and continue to do with marriage equality. To this day and to my knowledge, no one from MassEquality or the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition has reached out to Charlie Baker on the Transgender Bill. Maybe it's about time?
I do know that MassEquality will be announcing its endorsement of Deval Patrick for Re-election as Governor on Saturday at Pride. This decision coming just after MassEquality heard that Republican Charlie Baker would be marching. The Transgender Rights Bill being the only thing that separates the two candidates. But I have a few questions...Why has the Transgender Rights Bill not moved in THREE years in this Democrat Super Majority Legislature with enough Democrat support to carry the votes if they had the courage to put it to a vote? And with Deval Patrick as current Governor
Because the Democrats are afraid of progressing this bill for fear of losing some voters. So it seems that quite a few Democrats are using transgender people pretty much the same way that Anti-Gay Republican activists such as Kris Mineau are using transgender people...And Charlie Baker's current lack of support for this bill is providing great cover to those particular Democrats (and MassEquality)!
But back to Pride. Boston Pride's Theme this Year is "40 Years of Progress." Charlie Baker and Richard Tisei, the men, represent this progress. And their marching in this year's Pride Parade shows us just how much progress we have ALL made.
Tom Lang, Director